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Death Studies

Paul T Bartone, Jocelyn V Bartone, Zaneta Gileno, John M Violanti
This exploratory, qualitative study addresses the question: what are the important elements in effective peer support programs for bereaved survivors? Interviews with ten highly experienced experts were analyzed to identify recurrent themes and elements. Findings indicate that effective peer support programs for the bereaved should be: easily accessible; confidential; provide a safe environment; employ peer supporters with similar shared experiences to clients; select peer supporters carefully; partner with professional mental health providers; train peer supporters thoroughly; and provide care and monitoring for peer supporters...
January 17, 2018: Death Studies
Zohar Gazit
Researchers have yet to explore suicide survivors' activities in social organizations, which was the present purpose. I studied an Israeli organization, Path to Life, by interviewing 16 members, attending 11 events, and examining media, online, and print information. Although mainly comprised of activists whose loss occurred in civilian circumstances, frame analysis revealed that the organization emphasizes connections between suicide and esteemed military-related death. By relying on a legitimate model of dealing with death, the activists provided meaning to suicide and promoted a socio-cultural change through drawing attention to a silenced death, upgrading the suicide victims' status, and enfranchising survivors' grief...
January 17, 2018: Death Studies
Edward C Chang, Abigael G Lucas, Olivia D Chang, Tianbi Duan, Zihao Zhou, Jeff Z Yang, Lily E Morris, Harrison D Angoff, Jameson K Hirsch
Given past findings that have linked trauma and lack of personal control to greater suicidal risk in adults, the present study examined how trauma presence and personal control are uniquely involved in predicting suicidal risk in a sample of 469 college students. Regression analyses indicated that both trauma presence and personal control were significant predictors of suicidal risk, as did their interaction. The present findings suggest a need to consider both trauma presence and low personal control in assessing for suicidal risk in college students...
January 17, 2018: Death Studies
Peter Hanlon, Suzanne Guerin, Gemma Kiernan
While bereavement camps serve as a support for children, this study examines a therapeutic recreation-based camp for families who have lost a child. The study triangulated documents, researcher reflection and staff interviews to highlight the themes of Searching & Finding, Getting to Know, Finding the Balance and Joining. Developing opportunistically through internal and external factors, the camp's evolution represents a closing of the loop, from supporting families of living children to also supporting the families of children who have died...
January 17, 2018: Death Studies
Idil Aksoz-Efe, Ozgur Erdur-Baker, Heather Servaty-Seib
Grief following a death loss is a common experience all individuals face at some point in life. There, however, are only a few in-depth studies regarding grief in cultures around the world and specific roles that rituals and beliefs related to death may have in the grieving process. Results of interview data from eight grieving Turkish women revealed four three themes: (a) metaphors of loss, (b) funeral rituals, and (c) rituals in relation to control and personal factors. Overall, participants' sense of control appeared to influence their grief experiences and perceptions of rituals...
January 17, 2018: Death Studies
Brook Griese, Michaeleen Burns, Samantha A Farro
Pathfinders is a 10-session program developed in a community setting to creatively address the diverse needs of bereaved children and families, prevent complications of grief and trauma, and promote healthy adaptation. It is an accessible, grief-focused and trauma-informed family systems model that is theory-driven, research-informed, and grounded in practice-based evidence. Pathfinders incorporates principles central to narrative approaches, with a focus on restorative processes for helping children and families stay on track developmentally...
January 9, 2018: Death Studies
Joah L Williams, Alyssa A Rheingold
Survivors of sudden, traumatic death are at risk for a variety of bereavement-related mental health problems, including posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and prolonged grief disorder. Because these conditions often cooccur, traumatic grief interventions are generally designed to be transdiagnostic, integrative treatments that combine techniques designed to treat a wide range of mood and anxiety symptoms. In this special section, expert clinicians and researchers present a series of papers describing new, integrative treatment models for violently bereaved children and adults and also describe ways that integrative treatments can be enhanced using peer support...
January 9, 2018: Death Studies
Theresa Blakley, Nita Mehr, Donald Jordan
This article chronicles the process of reducing the 10 week restorative retelling (RR) group model (Rynearson & Correa, Accommodation to violent dying: A guide to restorative retelling and support, Violent Death Bereavement Society, 2006) into a 3 day retreat for families of homicide loss. Strategies used to address the intensity of the condensed version of the treatment model are described for both the participants and treatment team. The twists and turns of how the therapeutic retreat unfolded are presented through case examples...
January 4, 2018: Death Studies
Joah L Williams, Alyssa A Rheingold
Restorative Retelling is a structured, group-based intervention for violent loss survivors. Preliminary evidence supports the effectiveness of Restorative Retelling as a tertiary intervention for bereavement-related mental health problems. Providers delivering treatments like Restorative Retelling, however, should recognize that many survivors will likely encounter a number of barriers to care that can make engaging in structured, time-intensive interventions rather difficult. In this special section, we introduce a series of articles by expert clinicians and researchers describing creative applications of the restorative retelling model that simultaneously aim to mitigate known barriers to care and promote engagement in violent loss treatment...
January 4, 2018: Death Studies
Joah L Williams, Alyssa A Rheingold, Liana J McNallan, Alice W Knowlton
Understanding survivors' perspectives on treatment is important in a patient-centered approach to developing interventions for traumatic loss. Focus groups were conducted with 23 motor vehicle crash, suicide, and homicide survivors. Survivors' attitudes toward a modular treatment for traumatic loss were assessed. This study also sought to explore survivors' perspectives on the acceptability of existing evidence-based practice elements in the treatment of bereavement-related mental health problems. Qualitative analyses suggest that survivors liked a modular treatment approach and agreed that existing practice elements could be useful in addressing bereavement-related concerns...
January 4, 2018: Death Studies
Richard Gold, Elizabeth Jordan
This paper explains the healing benefits, the "sweet unexpected" of the title, which results from using poetry to engage trauma, including traumatic grief. The benefits of poetry are presented alongside a discussion of a 22-year-old nonprofit called The Pongo Poetry Project. The sweet unexpected includes the ease with which trauma survivors engage their trauma narrative, the critical insights that emerge in poetry, the beneficial social context of sharing poetry, and the healing benefits of poetry for writers, care providers, and readers alike...
January 4, 2018: Death Studies
Melissa A Smigelsky, Robert A Neimeyer
Restorative retelling (RR) is an evidence-based procedure for facilitating adaptation following traumatic bereavement. In this paper, we introduce performative retelling (PR), a variation on RR, which fosters healing from personal losses and portrays personal reactions to collective tragedy. We describe our collaboration with an ex-offender reentry program, the Memphis Police Department, and Playback Theatre to use improvisational community theatre to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the citizens they serve...
January 4, 2018: Death Studies
Jill Harrington-LaMorie, John R Jordan, Kim Ruocco, Julie Cerel
The United States military began to experience a steady increase in suicide rates across all service branches at the inception of the wars in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003). As the number of suicide deaths increased, so did the number of affected survivors who seek postvention support. Unique issues that accompany suicide death may expose survivors to a more distressing and complicated grief process. Peer support has clinically been observed to be widely utilized by suicide loss survivors. This article explores unique issues accompanying military suicide loss, potential benefits of postvention peer-based support, clinical considerations, and future directions...
January 4, 2018: Death Studies
Edward K Rynearson
Reenactment imagery that remains fixating after violent dying is associated with diminished psychological resilience. The nonresilient teller struggles to maintain an integrative orientation within the recounting. Reestablishing the resilient capacities of pacification (mastery of terror through self-calming), partition (mastery of intrusive thoughts through self-differentiation), and perspective (mastery of self-determination through self-transcendence) is an important preparatory goal with intervention. Without these resilient capacities, premature exposure increases the risk that patients will experience a dysfunctional merger with the possessive reenactment representation...
January 4, 2018: Death Studies
Polyxeni Stylianou, Michalinos Zembylas
This article investigates children's views on providing peer support to bereaved children. The data (pre- and postinterviews and written documents) come from an action research study of a teacher-researcher and her 16 children aged 10-11 years old. Analysis of the data shows children's ideas on supporting a bereaved child and how this support should be provided, taking into consideration various factors such as the relationship with the bereaved and the role of memories. The paper emphasizes that children should have structured opportunities across the whole-school curriculum to learn how loss affects people's lives to support themselves and others...
January 4, 2018: Death Studies
Natashe Lemos Dekker
Narratives that frame the end of life with dementia as undignified reveal moral claims on which lives are considered worth living. These claims are deeply rooted in the medicalization of death and its appeal to dignity. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork in nursing homes for people with dementia in the Netherlands, I demonstrate how the end of life with dementia is managed through such moral frames. Specifically, I elaborate on the production of lives (not) worth living and explore how family members welcomed the death of a loved one with dementia...
December 27, 2017: Death Studies
Devin Flaherty
I explore the complexities of moral experience during the phase of life after a terminal diagnosis by examining the experiences of one woman living as a hospice patient in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Introducing the notion of "existential ambivalence," I show that this can be a period of deep uncertainty, in which what matters to individuals can shift and fluctuate through time, not necessarily lining up with collective ideals of "the good death." I focus on a promise this woman made that continued to pull her toward a version of living well while she was also pulled toward dying...
December 26, 2017: Death Studies
Ari Gandsman
The right to die is an issue is predicated on larger cultural understandings of autonomy. Autonomy, in turn, is centered around assumptions of choice, that individuals are able to make health-related decisions based on a rational calculation. In such a way, a medically assisted death is differentiated from suicide. Through an ethnographic study of right to die activists in North America and Australia and how they understand ideals of "good deaths," this article will complicate this view by examining the ethical subject constructed by such activism that reveals autonomy to be a useful guiding fiction that mask larger ethical relationships...
December 26, 2017: Death Studies
Lone Grøn, Cheryl Mattingly
What might the good life amount to at the margins of life? Taking our point of departure in Jonathan Lear's notions of ontological breakdown and radical hope as well as the phenomenology of lived time, we explore hope within the institutional aging process in Denmark. Drawing on two ethnographic cases, Vagn and Thea, we propose a phenomenological and responsive hope emerging within complex temporalities. This is a relational hope to be included among the living, to be a human being among others. Importantly, it is neither optimistic nor naive but rather hope practiced in the face of devastating life circumstances...
December 22, 2017: Death Studies
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